Tag Archives: Never Say Spy series

Good Spies Finish First!

The votes are in, and the title for Book 12 will be “Kiss And Say Good Spy”!  I’m pumped because that was the title I’d originally chosen for it (before I second-guessed myself).  I would have been happy with any of the other titles, too, but it’s cool to see I was on the right wavelength from the start.

Many thanks to everyone who voted in the poll!  Even if you didn’t vote for “Kiss And Say Good Spy”, your vote was still important – it helps me understand people’s preferences better for future books.  And I’m looking forward to lots of future books – I love writing!

I’m lucky enough to enjoy all parts of it, including the hours and hours of editing (yes, I know I’m a freak).  I also amuse myself by setting mini-challenges for each book:  “Can I include (fill in oddball item) in this book somehow?”

In Book 10 I challenged myself to include “ballistic rutabagas”, which became the name of an alternative music band.  In Book 11 the challenge was alien porn (kindly suggested by @SomeRandomGuy); and I’m proud to say I found a way to work it into the story.  Tastefully, of course.  *snickers*

But Book 12’s challenge, inspired by @SueSlaght’s blog post Short-Beaked Echidna Australia’s Fast Tongue, was a little trickier:  Include a short-beaked echidna, also known as a spiny anteater.  (For those unaware of the short-beaked echidna’s claim to fame:  It has a long, amazingly fast tongue and a four-headed penis.)

I had originally thought I might use an echidna as a villain’s pet, à la Ernst Blofeld in the James Bond classic “You Only Live Twice”.  That idea was shot down when I researched echidnas and discovered that they don’t make good pets because picking them up causes them intense stress and can injure them.

But my research also revealed that there are exceptions to that rule.  F’rinstance, there’s at least one short-beaked echidna that enjoys being picked up… in fact, he enjoys it a little too much.  He had to be retired from his career at a zoo because he kept getting a giant erection every time he was handled.

You can imagine where my mind went with that:  a villain’s pet that pops an enormous boner at inopportune moments.  I so, so wanted to write that!

But I didn’t.

See, I have a modicum of… well, I hesitate to go as far as to say ‘good taste’, so let’s just stick with ‘restraint’.

I did, however, manage to work the echidna into the story.  Challenge = Met!

So if you’re burning to know how a short-beaked echidna fits into a spy thriller:  The release date for “Kiss And Say Good Spy” is August 1, and preorders will be going live by the end of this week for the e-book versions (paperbacks will be released later).  If you’ve signed up for my New Book Notification list, you’ll get an email with links to the preorders as soon as they’re available.  I’ll also announce them on the Books page and my Facebook author page.

And…

I’m a little late with this since Canada’s 150th birthday was July 1, but one of my readers (Ethel: thank you) sent me this link and I thought everyone else might get a kick out of it, too.  It’s a music video created a few years ago by our favourite Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, and his brother Dave:

Welcome to Canada, eh?  🙂

Now… off to ponder Book 13’s challenge…

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Submariners And Sea Monsters, Oh My!

Moving to a new place always comes with a learning curve, so this week I thought I’d share some of the discoveries I’ve made since we arrived here on Vancouver Island.

For example, I’ve recently learned the correct Navy pronunciation for ‘submariner’.  I always thought it was ‘sub-ma-REEN-er’, but a true Navy man pronounces it ‘sub-MARE-in-er’.  (Coincidentally, I also learned some Navy slang for a gay man:  ‘diesel-driven turnip’.  Don’t look at me like that; I don’t have a clue how that expression came to be.  But it made me laugh.)

Speaking of the Navy, I haven’t met a ringer for Aydan’s Uncle Roger yet (in the Never Say Spy series, he was the favourite uncle who taught Aydan her best cusswords); but the other day a Hellhound lookalike roared past me on his Harley with his guitar strapped to his back; and I actually got to meet a real-life Dave Shore:

Paul was one of the truckers who delivered our shipping containers, and watching him finesse an 80’ tractor-trailer into our tiny driveway off our narrow road was education and entertainment combined.  I just stood there with my jaw dangling while he eased those big tires perilously close to the ditch, sometimes hovering a couple of trailer wheels over empty space.  Then he used a brilliant technique to squeeze into the driveway:  he locked up the trailer brakes while he continued to reverse the tractor, pivoting the 53’ trailer neatly around the 90-degree corner and into our yard.  Wow!

Talking to him was like gabbing with my fictional Dave:  He’s got 700,000 kilometres on his current rig, which is the third his current employer has issued him.  As he explained, “I keep miling them out.”  (Translation:  Driving so many miles that the truck has to be replaced, usually at 1,000,000 km.)  He’d rather sleep in his truck than in a hotel, and when asked about his retirement plans in a few years, he admitted, “I’m going to get an RV and drive around visiting my kids.  I just like to drive.”  It’s very cool to know there are real-life ‘Daves’ out there!

Marine life has been another novelty for me; some of it beautiful and fascinating…

Starfish come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours from white to orange/red to blue/purple, and they have the ability to go from soft to rigid in mere seconds if you touch them. (Guys, did you get that?)

Starfish come in an amazing variety of shapes and colours from white to orange/red to blue/purple, and they have the ability to go from soft to rigid in mere seconds if you touch them. (Guys, did you get that?)

…and some of it quite horrifying:

I have no idea what creature wore this head before I found it bobbing gently in the surf. It was nearly ten inches across and it looked like some hideous sea monster, although although it's probably a mundane fish to a true West-Coaster. But I’m going with ‘sea monster’.

I have no idea what creature wore this head before I found it bobbing gently in the surf. It was nearly ten inches across and it looked like some hideous sea monster, although it’s probably a mundane fish to a true West-Coaster. But I’m going with ‘sea monster’.

I’ve seen misty sunrises:

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Serene moonrises:

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Dramatic nighttime cloudscapes:

cloudy-moon

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Rainbows after a storm:

rainbow-wave

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And harbour seals playing.  (I was too far away so they only look like black blobs splashing around, but you get the idea): 

…And we’ve only been here a month.  I can hardly wait to see the strange and wonderful things the Island has left to show us!

But here’s the best photo yet:  They broke ground for our house on Monday!  Hooray!  (Speaking of finesse and expertise, Sam the excavator operator is an artist.  His touch with that bucket is so delicate and precise you forget that he’s moving literally tons of earth at mind-boggling speed.  Apparently he began operating a small excavator when he was 8 years old.)

It might not be as scenic as the rest of the photos, but this one makes me very happy!

It might not be as scenic as the rest of the photos, but this one makes me very happy!

What’s new in your world this week?  And… does anybody know what that sea-monster-critter actually is?  (Or, more accurately, ‘was’?)

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What’s Your Hippie Name?

This week’s post comes to you with many thanks to @glbryant, whom you will likely recognize as one of my dedicated commenters on this blog.

Last week he emailed me to say he was re-reading Book 10 in preparation for the release of Book 11, and he’d realized all over again how absolutely irritating one of the characters was. (Fortunately I had intended Tyler Brock to be annoying.)

For those who haven’t read the series, Brock could make a saint blaspheme, which led @glbryant to speculate that even Moonbeam (an earth mother from Book 9 who renames everyone with hippie-type handles) wouldn’t be able to tolerate him.

This quote from his email says it all:  “…if Brock had spent any time at the commune, his name would’ve been Astral Penis-Pox Douche-Weasel.

Which left me both inspired and rolling on the floor in tears of laughter.  Not only that, but it was remarkably prescient on his part, because both Moonbeam and Tyler Brock are in Book 11. (Unfortunately, Moonbeam doesn’t assign a hippie name to Brock.  Missed opportunities. *sigh*)

So, without further ado, I present the Earth Spirit’s Name Generators, one for the good guys and one for the bad guys.  Discover your hippie name below by looking up your initials in the tables, or feel free to make up one of your own.  Post your good-guy name below (and your bad-guy name if you dare).

Turns out my good-guy name is Starry Shining Poem (which is a little lame).  But I totally make up for it with my bad-guy name:  Deranged Zit-Nibbler.

(Note:  I swear I didn’t purposely assign words to the initials of people I know.  That would have required far more forethought and evil intent than I can muster.)

Good-Guy Hippie Name

 First Name  Middle Name   Last Name
 A – Astral  A – Misty  A – Dreamer
 B – Venus  B – Floating  B – Song
 C – Blessed  C – Flowing  C – Karma
 D – Starry  D – Singing  D – River
 E – Heavenly  E – Cloud  E – Stream
 F – Moonbeam  F – Shining  F – Dancer
 G – Cosmic  G – Desert  G – Whisper
 H – Aurora  H – Soaring  H – Poem
 I – Sage  I – Sky  I – Breeze
 J – Sunbeam  J – Earth  J – Heart
 K – Beloved  K – Soul  K – Journey
 L – Zen  L – Rainbow  L – Miracle
 M – Dharma  M – Star  M – Butterfly
 N – Infinite  N – Peace  N – Prophet
 O – Harmonious  O – Sparkling  O – Seeker
 P – Emerald  P – Crystal  P – Spirit
 Q – Summer  Q – Flower  Q – Nirvana
 R – Ambrosia  R – Blazing  R – Freedom
 S – Feather  S – Glowing  S – Universe
 T – Crimson  T – Daylight  T – Quest
 U – Sundance  U – Serene  U – Daydream
 V – Autumn  V – Secret  V – Hope
 W – Wind  W – Brilliant  W – Utopia
 X – Dusk  X – Sunray  X – Singer
 Y – Tranquil  Y – Truth  Y – Ocean
 Z – Azure  Z – Revelation  Z – Jewel

Bad-Guy Hippie Name
(Firstname with hyphenated Middlename-Lastname)

First Name Middle Name Last Name
 A – Sleazy  A – Douche  A – Groper
 B – Stoned  B – Pox  B – Gargler
 C – Creepy  C – Rat  C – Bucket
 D – Deranged  D – Toad  D – Humper
 E – Slimy  E – Spit  E – Fondler
 F – Easy  F – Zit  F – Waffle
 G – Wacko  G – Weasel  G – Blister
 H – Pantywaist  H – Poop  H – Nibbler
 I – Diseased  I – Dong  I – Gobbler
 J – Sucky  J – Scum  J – Juggler
 K – Nutjob  K – Booger  K – Poker
 L – Whiny  L – Pube  L – Chomper
 M – Brown-nosing  M – Donkey  M – Squeezer
 N – Snivelling  N – Wombat  N – Butt
 O – Obnoxious  O – Jizz  O – Guzzler
 P – Babbling  P – Vulture  P – Muffin
 Q – Wimpy  Q – Goblin  Q – Licker
 R – Lecherous  R – Monkey  R – Stroker
 S – Sick  S – Platypus  S – Whacker
 T – Twisted  T – Snot  T – Crumpet
 U – Skeezy  U – Puke  U – Banger
 V – Sketchy  V – Turd  V – Picker
 W – Wasted  W – Meat  W – Jiggler
 X – Bombastic  X – Pus  X – Sucker
 Y – Squirrelly  Y – Slime  Y – Dongle
 Z – Wanking  Z – Pecker  Z – Tickler

* * *

And in other news…

I’ll be updating my blog and website in the next few weeks, and since you’re the ones who have to look at it, I’d very much appreciate your input.  I’m just in the planning stages right now, but here are a few things I’m considering:

  • A larger font
  • More obvious menus to get to pages like Books and Guest Book
  • A link to Pinterest boards where we can all indulge our fantasies by selecting actors to play each of the characters
  • A techno-geek page on the inventions
  • A trivia page
  • A virtual book club where readers can discuss questions supplied by me and/or readers.

Any requests/suggestions/comments?

Also, since the virtual book club would require frequent contributions from readers in order to make it worthwhile for everyone, would you please vote in the poll to give me an idea of how much interest there is?  Thanks!

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…And That’s My Cover Story

Woohoo! The cover art and blurb for Book 11 are finished! As with any process where I’m involved, there have been some giggles along the way.

Rick Hand of Hand Crafted Images always makes it fun to shoot the cover photo, and luckily he’s got a great sense of humour. He needs it when he’s working with a so-called model like me.

I’ve mentioned my uncanny knack for twisting my face into the world’s goofiest expression at the precise moment the camera clicks. (At least I prefer to think I only look goofy for that instant. If it’s all the time, please don’t tell me – I prefer to cling to my illusions.)

But apparently I also have a gift for twisting my body into poses that make a photographer (and everybody else) go “WTF?!?”

For example, Rick was testing the lighting levels when I did this:

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking but apparently it was something like, “‘Scuse me while I stick this cardboard gun up my own ass. And if I place my left hand just so, it’ll look like a giant schlong hanging out the front of my jeans.

Yep, I’ve got a real gift for modelling.  It’s a lucky thing Rick’s good at arranging me because my sole talent is holding still once he’s got me in place.

Moving on to the title selection:

You probably already know that my geeky OCD personality requires spreadsheets for everything, including titles. I’ve itemized every word that rhymes with ‘spy’, along with a list of common phrases that include those words. So when it’s title time, I consider the themes in the book I’ve just written and try to match up a phrase that works.

But apparently there’s an easier way:  An app at portent.com generates titles automatically based on user-supplied keywords. So I entered ‘female spy’ and sat back to wait for the perfect title for Book 11.

Here are the contenders:

“How Female Spies Make You A Better Lover”: I do my best to make my sex scenes hot, but I didn’t realize I was providing such a valuable service to society. Go, me! *buffs fingernails against shirt and looks smug*

“Doing Female Spies The Right Way”: Is it me, or does Portent seem to have a one-track mind?

“True Facts About Justin Bieber’s Love For Female Spies”: Okay, now they’re just scaring me.

“The 12 Biggest Female Spies Blunders”: This one’s pretty appropriate since Aydan does tend to blunder into situations, but it’s not really the catchy title I had in mind.

“Why Female Spies Are The 51st Shade Of Grey”: Why Portent, you kinky thing! You’ve been peeking through my blinds again, haven’t you?

“Why Female Spies Are Scarier Than Dating Taylor Swift”: I’m not sure what level of fear we’re talking about here. It seems reasonable to be more afraid of female spies, but then again I don’t know Taylor Swift.

“Shocking Ways Female Spies Will Make You Better In Bed”: I’m sensing a theme here…

“How To Fight Lex Luthor Using Only Female Spies”: Superman, are you paying attention?

“How Female Spies Killed Kenny”: I’ve never watched an episode of South Park but apparently Kenny has died in all sorts of creative ways, so this seems plausible.

But I guess I’m just set in my ways. Despite the stellar appeal of Portent’s shortlist, I decided to stick with my spreadsheet even though one of the above titles could probably have made me famous. (Or infamous. It’s a fine line.) So voilà, Book 11:

Secret agent Aydan Kelly is hoping to resume her peaceful life as a bookkeeper, until her director issues an ultimatum: Go undercover as an arms dealer or go to jail for life. But when Aydan realizes her co-worker’s son has been taken by a serial killer, she defies orders in an attempt to save the child.

Neglecting her undercover assignment may cost more than just her freedom. When the gunrunner she’s been baiting threatens her loved ones, Aydan must choose between protecting them herself or entrusting their safety to geriatric amateur vigilantes while she closes in on the killer.

How much will she risk for a child who may already be dead?

* * *

The release date is March 18, 2016, and The Spies That Bind will be available for pre-order in about a week. If you’d like to receive an email notification when it’s available, please click here to sign up for my New Book Notification List.

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